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Monday, 18 April 2011

Tudor Art- Royal Portraits- Part 4

It is interesting that although Henry VIII had tried so much to have a son and heir, it was a daughter that was meant to continue his dynasty and become even more famous that her father. Elizabeth, the second daughter of the king, was greeted with disappointment when she was born because everyone hoped for a healthy boy. The girl lost her mother Anne Boleyn at the age of 3 and until she eventually succeeded to the throne of England her life was often troubled.
She became queen in 1558 and reigned for 45 years; more than any other Tudor monarch. She famously never married and managed to run her kingdom and win every enemy till the end of her life. An intelligent and potent ruler, Elizabeth realized, like her father had done almost 30 years before her, that her image was an important tool in her reign. 
The Darnley Portrait, 1575, oil on panel, National Portrait Gallery, London
Especially, in the portraits of the second half of her reign, the queen was presented glorious, majestic in rich clothes, always looking out of the boundaries of the painting. In the Darnley and Ditchley Portraits from 1575 and 1592 respectively, nobody could mistake the status of the sitter or question her absolute power. The portraits are stylized and although the queen aged she is always represented youthful, in the prime of her power.
The Ditchley Portrait, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, 1592, oil on canvas, National Gallery, London    

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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Artwork of the day

The Madonna of the Pinks ('La Madonna dei Garofani'), Raphael, 1506-1507 oil on yew, National Gallery, London
Among the most famous painters of the Italian Renaissance, Raphael was born exactly 528 years ago on 6th April 1483 and also died on a 6th of April in 1520. 
This small painting deals with a subject with which the artist was very familiar: the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus. The painting has been famous since the time of its creation. Various copies have been made and in the 19th and most of the 20th century it was questioned whether this was the original. Close visual examination revealed that this is actually a work by Raphael himself.
Mother and child are represented seated interacting with each other, showing emotions that would occur between a young mother and her baby and forming a very realistic and tender scene. They hold pinks, a symbol of marriage. The Virgin Mary is therefore not only the mother but also the bride of Christ.
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